Maui Halloween Celebrations, Events & Traditions
CELEBRATIONS OF HALLOWEEN ACROSS MAUI
Besides the Lahaina celebration on the night of Halloween there are many other events happening across the island in the lead up to the big night. The weekends are filled with events tailored to families, adults or the all important teenagers. In many cases, a local resort or condo complex will have events or if not they can direct visitors to nearby resorts to take part in the celebration. Most towns have costume events at their
restaurants and bars. If you’re near the towns of Makawao, Wailuku, Kihei or Paia chances are there is a variety of events happening, even though this year (2016) is somewhat subdued because the holiday lands on a Monday.
The Queen Kaahumanu Center always has something going on for every holiday and season. This year they will be hosting a keiki (childrens) Halloween costume contest and parade with a “Trick or Treat Together” theme. Collect 6 stamps at participating merchants with a chance to win a $100 gift card!
Also check out their Cultural Connections Mondays with hula performances and Mo’olelo (storytelling) presented by Story of Hawaii Museum located in the mall.
For kids and families with young children there are some great ways to partake in the fun on Halloween evening which is a Monday this year (2016). A new addition to Kihei last year is Maui Brewing Company’s brewpub with their award winning beers and great food.
Hope Chapel is hosting their annual Trunk or Treat contest with games and treats for kids from 5:30p to 8:30pm.
HALLOWEEN CELEBRATIONS IN LAHAINA
It’s been called the Mardi Gra of the Pacific since the early 1990’s. Since then it has grown to an event with 30,000+ people. I have never seen any problems arise over the years. This year will have over 80 police officers and easily as many volunteers in the streets keeping the peace.
There are plenty of photos on-line about Halloween in Lahaina. Having a look through my own photo archive brings back many fond memories. The constant flow of costumed people mixed with the uncostumed taking photos of them. People with particularly great costumes usually get surrounded by crowds of vacationing amatuer paparazzi. Many of these “costumed to the hilt revelers” will compete at various bars and restaurants around town for prizes and pride. The lines to get in the bars and restaurants of Front Street start building after the Keiki (children’s) Parade (4pm to 5:30pm) ends.
The Banyan Tree park has an outdoor stage set up this year and any 2nd story bar or restaurant will give you an excellent view of the incredible costumes parading past on Front Street below.
Getting To The Event
For Lahaina’s Front Street events, there are numerous ways to arrive safely while avoiding being the driver.
The best way to get to the party is to take the Halloween Cruise on the spacious Pride of Maui. Park in Maalaea and take the cruise along the shoreline of Maui to be dropped right off in the action at Front Street in Lahaina. You’ll have from 6:30 to 9pm to explore the town before getting back on the boat for a cruise.
October is a wonderful time of year to be in Maui. It’s a visitor season gap that happens between summer and the holiday months so good deals can be had on accommodations. It might be tough to get a hotel around Halloween in Lahaina but there are plenty of condos and resorts nearby. In Kaanapali, Honokawai and Napili there will be a shuttle service to get you to Front Street and back.
Controversy About Lahaina’s Halloween
Lahaina was once the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom and Kamehameha with his favorite wife Ka’ahumanu ruled this newly created kingdom just steps away from Lahaina Harbor during the late 1700’s. A brick palace was built for his court of chiefs and family said to number 1000 people.
Several of the ancient Hawaiian Alii (Royalty) are buried nearby the town which was known as Lele back then. Kamehameha was presented horses here (the first in the islands) which he loved riding and caused quite a sensation among the chiefs to learn horsemanship. This is what makes Lahaina a sacred place.
Some controversy about Lahaina’s Halloween came up in 2009 when complaints about cultural disrespect, including things like urinating on sacred Hawaiian areas around town and some tasteless promotional materials of the event caused a delay in the applying and issuing of permits for Banyan tree park use and cordoning off Front street.
Even though the local media was throwing around words like “Halloween banned in Lahaina” that was never really the case. The event continued even with vehicle traffic clogging Front Street. Banning Halloween was never the case nor the intent of anyone involved. Today things are improving between event organizers and the islands cultural committee due to changes that were made and Halloween has been well attended since 2011. If you ever get the chance to attend Halloween in Lahaina bring your best costume and please be respectful of this sacred place!
Costumes can be had at places like LahainaHalloween.com and throughout the island. The various levels of quality of costumes can usually fit into everyone’s budget but the most elaborate ones are homemade. Some people even work on their costume idea all year!
I have done Halloween in Lahaina a half dozen times over the last 20+ years. It’s something a lot of people, residents and visitors alike, really get into. I first experienced Halloween in Lahaina wearing a funny hat and a tie with a tank top. Lame by any standards but being fresh from the mainland I just wanted to check it out anyway. Boy was I surprised. One of the most memorable that year was a couple lit from head to toe with with Christmas lights embedded in silver suits and pulling a small generator in a kids wagon to power it all. That’s dedication to a costume!
Since then whenever doing Halloween in Lahaina I have never failed to make a fun costume to cruise around in. One time a friend visiting from the mainland and I dressed up as “Vanilla Rasta” with white mop heads for dreds and tie dye shirts. We ended up singing in a bar with a band.
Another time a girlfriend dressed me up as a women with a wig, polka dot mini skirt and silicon fake boobs. I had so much fun with all the ladies…they all wanted to squeeze my boobs! A friend who was a costume designer made me a Viking outfit a few years ago that was so elaborate crowds would gather to have their photo taken with us. We held fake swords to the throats of many a tourist! It was really a lot of fun.
Just after sunset Front street is filled with every kind of imaginable costume scenario you can think of and at least half a dozen you couldn’t imagine. Things like Jesus, Satan, and the Pope drinking beer together on the balcony of a restaurant while they bless the crowd below.
Things like costume “teams” that portray themes. Favorites like 101 Dalmations (about 30+ people in spotted suits) or a pirate ship and crew… or Studio 53 (a DJ spinning tunes and bouncers holding a circular rope for the girls to dance in as they move down the street) are good examples. Some are easily recognizable like Hanz and Franz or Superwoman or Mario. I’m sure they’ll be plenty of Star Wars this year too!
Others are just strange, like the guy with his face stuck through a painting and wearing a tutu. Whereever you end up for Halloween in Maui i’m sure you’ll find a great celebration nearby. Just don’t forget to get a costume for Halloween in Maui… it’s more fun to go as someone other than everyday you!
Aloha Nui Loa